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Monday, 2 January 2012

Citrus chicken

In Canada the winters are very cold, very long and very grey.  As such, every year millions of Canadians flock south to ride out the winter on the golf courses of the southern US and Mexico ... but that's just the Geese and retirees.  The rest of us have responsibilities like jobs and beer league hockey and so we can only afford a couple of weeks to lounge around in the sun on the Mayan Riviera in a desperate attempt to absorb enough vitamin D to ward off rickets until spring brings the sun back.

For those of us who sunburn easily or can't afford a trip or aren't allowed out of the country for legal reasons, I find this dish to be an excellent alternative to the typical Mexican getaway.  It's cheap, tastes like summer and comes with very little risk of becoming a drug mule or seeing fat people without their shirts on.

Chicken and sauce:
4 chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
4 lemons, peeled, chopped and de-seeded
2 naval oranges, peeled, chopped and de-seeded
1 cup orange or grapefruit juice
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 lime

1 1/2  cups sweet Thai rice, washed
2 tablespoons shredded coconut

Put rice in a fine mesh strainer and wash under water five or six times until the water runs clear.  When rice is washed, leave to soak in water for 30 minutes to an hour.

While rice is soaking, peel and de-seed the lemons and oranges.  Be sure to remove all of the pith as it will make the dish bitter.  Combine lemons, oranges, juice, sugar and chicken stock in an oven proof pan and mix.  Lay chicken breasts on top of fruit skin side up and season with salt and pepper.  Put chicken in 400F oven for 20-30 minutes until skin is crisp and juices run clear when stabbed with a knife.

While chicken is cooking, mix rice with coconut and then either steam or cover with water and boil until cooked, fluffing occasionally.

When chicken is cooked, remove from oven, cover and let stand for about 5 minutes.  During this time you can reduce the citrus sauce over high heat, however, be aware that it may increase the acidity significantly.

Serve chicken over rice with liberal helpings of cooked fruit and juice.  Sprinkle with lime zest and garnish with orange or lemon rind.

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